Last year, First Solar set a world record for conversion efficiency mark for cadmium telluride at 20.4 percent. A year later and that figure has now been easily passed with a new record of 21.5 percent, and with that, First Solar anticipates to exceed 22 percent in 2015. According to the firm, “The achievement places First Solar ahead of its established research cell roadmap, and validates CdTe’s continuing competitive advantage over traditional crystalline silicon technology.”
The research cell was constructed at the thin-film module builder and vertically integrated EPC’s Perrysburg, Ohio manufacturing factory and R&D center. The company claims that the record-breaking cell was built “using processes and materials suitable for commercial-scale manufacturing.” The record has been documented by NREL.
Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s CTO, gave credit to GE Global Research as one of the contributors to progress in efficiency. “The true value of improved cell efficiency comes from the translation of the science into commercially viable product with improved power output and energy density,” said Garabedian in a release.
First Solar has suggested that it can equal efficiencies of average c-Si modules by the end of 2015. The company believes it can hit ~19.5 percent efficiency in 2017. The firm also sees credible long-term paths to 23-percent-efficient and 25-percent-efficient CdTe cells.